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  1. #11

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    I've used pretty much every Nikon from the F on and I'd say... look into the Nikon F100!

    Best,
    Tom

  2. #12
    John_Nikon_F's Avatar
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    Since I own both, I'm going to have to say that the F4 is actually a bit nicer, due to the features listed above. Luckily, F3's are cheap, so you can pick up one along with an F4s and only spend about $300 or so. The main reason why I still have my F3, is due to it being the P version with the hot shoe on the prism. At least, it lets my SB-25 do non-TTL automatic without an adapter...

    -J
    APUG: F4, F3P, F2ASx2, F
    DPUG: D200
    Nikkors: 18-70/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX (f/D200), 24/2.8 AI, 35/2 O, 50/1.4 AI, 50/1.8 AF, 50/2 H, 85/1.8 K, 105/4 Micro AIS

    My FB - My flickr stream
    My SmugMug

  3. #13

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    I like the weight, an important consideration for me, of the F3HP vs. the heavier F4S.
    "If your pictures aren't good enough,
    you're not close enough." -Robert Capa

  4. #14
    declark's Avatar
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    I have never owned an F4 but did hold one in a camera shop once and loved the feel of it being a like a sculpted piece of metal and really like the idea of matrix metering with manual focus lenses, but it was missing something... a winder. One of the reasons I love the F3HP is the ball bearing smooth feel of the winder, made my FE2 feel like it had gravel in the drivetrain. I haven't used the F3 much since getting an F100, but I still want to keep it because it is just so much fun to use.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinholemaster View Post
    All cameras are boxes that keep the light out until you open the shutter.

    Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6 are total crap without a good lens, and most importantly a talented operator.

    Forget about the camera. It is not a symbol of your artistic talents. It is only 'male jewelry' to be worn like a necklace.

    So get a box that works for you, not what others tell you. Then spend real money on lenses for they sharp the image to match your creative vision.

    I've used all the above cameras, except the F6, professionally. I prefer the FM2 over all of them.

    Here's a truncated list of my clients if you don't trust what I've said (the list does not include the 4 years I was a staff photographer and photo editor for USA Today): http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Cheers/Clients.html
    With all your experience, you must surely realise that if an SLR is worn or has bad build quality, its vibration level will wreck the sharpness of any lens, and that the same will happen if the focusing screen and film plane are not absolutely in the same register. And particularly with press work, an accurate auto-exposure system you can rely on will time and time again make the difference between getting a vital shot or being too late. The contention that "All cameras are just light-tight boxes, they're all the same" is total garbage.

  6. #16
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I agree that lenses are more important than cameras, in general, but once you get lenses of a reasonable quality, then putting some money into your bodies makes sense. You can shoot sports, e.g., with a non-motor-driven FM2n, but you might have an easier time of it with an F4s or F5, with AF and a motor drive, and you might have better luck with accurate exposure in rapidly-changing light conditions using autoexposure.

    I'll tell you one thing I really prefer about the F3HP or F4s versus an FM2n (and I own all three) - the high-eyepoint viewfinders. I wear glasses, and using the first two cameras is a lot easier. Still, the FM2n is a great camera in its own right, and it's awfully reliable in the cold, since it doesn't really need the batteries except for metering.

    These days, with film cameras being so cheap, a person can afford to have the best of gear. I can't justify owning an F5 from a purely practical level, but the price has dropped to such a point that I can afford it and get my money's worth out of it. I really don't care if I need it or not.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson made a career out of using a simple rangefinder camera and a 50mm lens. Should everyone have such basic gear? Obviously you can do amazing work with it. Photography would be boring, however, if everyone used the same gear.

    Don't forget the glass - it's hugely important - but as long as you can afford reasonably good glass, by all means get reasonably good bodies to go with it. And, especially if you are a film shooter, have more than one camera - for multiple film types, not having to change lenses (sometimes subjects don't let you change them - there simply isn't time), and for the pleasure of using complementary tools.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  7. #17
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinholemaster View Post
    All cameras are boxes that keep the light out until you open the shutter.

    Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6 are total crap without a good lens, and most importantly a talented operator.

    Forget about the camera. It is not a symbol of your artistic talents. It is only 'male jewelry' to be worn like a necklace.

    So get a box that works for you, not what others tell you. Then spend real money on lenses for they sharp the image to match your creative vision.

    I've used all the above cameras, except the F6, professionally. I prefer the FM2 over all of them.

    Here's a truncated list of my clients if you don't trust what I've said (the list does not include the 4 years I was a staff photographer and photo editor for USA Today): http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Cheers/Clients.html
    If I didn't see your client list I never would have believed that cameras are light tight boxes!

    On the other hand most modern lenses are more than sharp enough and people who obsess over minute differences between them are mostly wasting their time. Bodies, though, can have crucial differences that can make or break a shot - i.e. ease of focus, MLU, or the ability to use a 6x finder or aerial screen as on my F3.

    -A

  8. #18

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    The F3 enjoyed a longer and more popular sales run. If you don't want a motor driven SLR, then the F3 is a smaller and more compact set-up than an F4S. The biggest downside to an F3 (for me) is the non-standard flash shoe. There is a wealth of quite good Nikon lighting gear, and without an adapter you are restricted to much older Speedlights with the F3.

    The F4S probably has one of the easiest to read viewfinders in the industry. When light levels drop, simply turn on the assist light for the displays. It also has a great range of capabilities and options, though some of the accessory items cost nearly as much as a good used body. I have and use often the waist level viewfinder for low angle shots. On a film flatness comparison, the back on the F4S is slightly different than the F3, which in theory might allow better film flatness.

    I think though it really comes down to trying one in hand. The F4S is definitely not a light camera, though the grip set-up gives it a good balance. Ideally you would handle both cameras, and decide which one is the least distracting.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  9. #19
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    The Nikon F3 and the F4 are both great cameras. At one time, I used the auto-exposure Nikon F3 as a backup to my F2 bodies. Today, I use the auto exposure/auto focus Nikon F4 as a backup to my F2 bodies. I hope my following notes on the two cameras are of use to you. Others have probably covered many of the items in my notes, but I list them anyway.

    F3 pros:
    1. Has interchangeable viewfinder and view screens.
    2. Has a highly selective center-weighted meter.
    3. Less electronics than the F4
    4. The F3 has the option of being used without a motor drive.
    5. When the MD-4 motor drive is removed from the F3, it is smaller in size and lighter in weight than the F4.
    6. Has traditional brass top and bottom covers.
    7. Has leatherette covering on body
    8. Is less expensive to repair compared to the F4.
    9. Can use linear or circular polarizer.
    10. Works well with AI/AIS manual focus lenses.

    F3 cons:
    1. Battery dependent but has a mechanical shutter speed that can be used if the batteries die.
    2. Slower flash synch than F4
    3. TTL flash system is very primitive and does not allow for the use of the light meter when a flash is attached and turned on.
    4. Like the earlier F and F2 bodies, it has a non-standard accessory shoe around the rewind crank.
    5. Viewfinder display is not as informative as the F4.
    6. Does not have an auto focus mode for auto focus lenses.
    7. Cannot use G lenses.

    F4 pros:
    1. Has interchangeable viewfinder and view screens.
    2. Has classic 60/40 center-weighted light meter.
    3. Viewfinder display is more informative and is easier to read than the F3.
    4. Faster high-end shutter speeds and faster flash synch than F3.
    5. Normal ISO hot shoe and more recent TTL flash system
    6. Does not need expensive and rare AS-17 adapter to use normal flashes in TTL mode.
    7. Better balance than F3 when long lenses are mounted.
    8. More metering modes
    9. Has faster flash synch speed and a more advanced TTL flash system than F3.
    10. Works well with AI/AIS manual focus and auto focus lenses.
    11. Can use G lenses (in Programmed and Shutter Priority modes only)

    F4 cons:
    1. Battery dependent
    2. Too conspicuous for clandestine candids
    3. Not able to wind film manually
    4. Cannot use camera when the batteries die.
    5. More expensive to repair than F3
    6. LCD bleed problems are common
    7. Even with the smallest battery pack (MB-20), the F4 is still heavy.
    8. Can only use a circular polarizer.
    9. Rubberized covering gets a bit slippery.
    10. Has plastic top and bottom.

  10. #20

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    F100's are nearly as cheap as f3's and f4's these days.... I'd go for one of those!

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